Lucy Casley flies China Airlines from Taipei to Auckland via Brisbane on CI53.
Plane: Boeing A350-900.
Class: I flew Economy from Taipei to Brisbane and was upgraded to Business from Brisbane to Auckland.
On time? Take-off, scheduled for 11.50pm, was delayed until 12.10am due to cleaning, but we made up the time in the air.
My seat: Economy, 40J. We were given the bulkhead seats so had a lot of legroom. The seats are classic Economy — small and intimate with your neighbours.
In Business I was in 18A. The seat had a deliciously comfy chair that transformed into its sleeping position via a touchscreen. With a luxurious blanket, velvet pillow, a TV screen twice the size of Economy, some storage space, another unit with multiple power points as well as a large mirror on the inside, nice-sized headphones, and my favourite detail, the miniature lamp, I was set.
Fellow passengers: Although very grateful for our extra legroom in Economy, my friend beside me in the aisle seat had her foot stood on and multiple people bumping her TV. In Business, thanks to the privacy of the seating, I didn't even notice the other passengers.
Entertainment: The same in Economy and Business — Wi-Fi is available to purchase, there are three inflight magazines, and a good range of movies and TV shows, games and music.
Service: In Economy, the service was standard but good. In Business I was welcomed with "How may I address you today?" I said, "Lucy is fine thanks." "Okay, Miss Lucy." A warm flannel, water and snack pack was brought to me immediately with a food and wine menu. I ordered the braised lamb shanks with champagne (warm fuzzies inside). Slippers were also offered.
Food and drink: In Economy I was given two meal options — I went with the creamy pasta which was very tasty, with accompanying vegetables. On the side I had a bread roll, fruit and a small chocolate treat. Overall it was a well-balanced meal.
In Business there were three lunch options from the mains menu and chose the braised lamb shanks, cooked to falling-off-the-bone perfection. They came with mashed kumara, which was sweet and tasty, vegetables, and a side of garlic bread, regular bread and an assortment of fruit. With my lunch I was brought a glass of champagne which was later topped up. Following lunch I was brought a mini-tub of icecream.
Toilets: Standard issue.
Luggage: In Economy my carry-on luggage was stored with no issues. In Business there was plenty of space overhead since the cabin was not full. We also had storage units at our seats for smaller things.
The airport experience: We were fortunate enough to use the China Airlines lounge where you could shower if you wished. There was a drink buffet, comfortable lounging and charging plugs. I was pleasantly surprised by how many duty-free stores there were in Taipei airport, where I could spend any remaining cash on gifts for friends and family.
Would I fly this again? Economy: Yes, we were well looked after. I didn't have any issues other than I recommend avoiding the bulkhead aisle seat.
Business: Absolutely, if I ever get paid enough.